Free Weekly College Football Mid-Major Picks: Georgia State Panthers Week 3
With the benefit of two nonconference weeks already in the rearview mirror,
I'll be following what is clearly an intriguing Georgia State Panthers
squad for the remainder of the college football season as a key mid-major
team to watch. The Panthers have opened with victories over Tennessee and
fellow respected mid-major program Furman.
This start certainly was not expected, either. Georgia State went to bowl games in 2015 and 2017 -- even winning one in its most recent appearance -- but slumped to a disastrous 2-10 record last year. The Panthers managed to beat only Kennesaw State and Louisiana-Monroe while suffering eight of their 10 losses by double-digits.
Following a proverbial "sophomore slump" in Year 2 under head coach Shawn Elliot, it looks like his third time roaming the GSU sidelines could be the charm.
As I track the Panthers' 2019 campaign, there will be a selection on each game at the end of the weekly article. We'll be using the Doc's Sports Unit Betting System for every pick, which will allow readers to follow along and document the results.
Georgia State went into Tennessee to begin the season as a -24.5 underdog. And why not? Not only were the Panthers coming off their dreadful 2018 season, but the Volunteers are also a daunting SEC opponent. No matter that the Vols struggled to a 5-7 record in the previous year to miss out on a bowl game; they still earned wins over Auburn (on the road, in fact) and also at the expense of a Kentucky program that contended in the SEC East for much of the season.
Despite being massive 'dogs, the Panthers set the tone early in Neyland Stadium with a touchdown run by Seth Paige three minutes into the game. They were within three points at halftime and continued to instill doubts in the home team's mind by taking a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter. A stretch of 17 unanswered points midway through the fourth made the score even more lopsided than the final 38-30 margin suggested, as Georgia State led 38-23 before Tennessee scored a meaningless touchdown with two seconds remaining. GSU quarterback Dan Ellington finished with 139 passing yards, 61 rushing yards, and three total touchdowns.
What would the Panthers do for an encore? With expectations now understandably high (they were -6 home favorites over Furman this past weekend), they came out feeling the pressure. But a 20-3 deficit late in the second quarter proved to be nothing more than a wakeup call. Georgia State pulled to within 20-17 at halftime thanks to a 10-yard touchdown pass from Ellington to Terrance Dixon as time expired. The home team took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Paladins 21-7 during that stretch before eventually extending its lead to 48-35 in the fourth. GSU held on for a 48-42 victory, pushing the spread.
Ellington threw five TD passes without turning the ball over, finishing 29-of-37 for 362 yards to go along with a team-high 86 rushing yards. Three different receivers caught at least seven balls, and there were five different touchdown scorers on the receiving end from their senior signal-caller.
- Western Michigan is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 overall
- Western Michigan is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 nonconference games
- Western Michigan is 2-5 ATS in its last seven against teams with winning records
- Western Michigan is 4-10 ATS in its last 11 on fieldturf
Georgia State at Western Michigan College Football Odds
Western Michigan opened as either an 11-point or 11.5-favorite at most
sportsbooks. Even at books that started with a -11 spread, the Broncos were
soon favored by 11.5 points. But on the strength of Georgia State's
season-opening surge the line was bet down to 10 points across the board. The total is currently 66.5, having
climbed from an opening number as low as 65 at some shops.
Georgia State at Western Michigan College Football Picks
The sample size is small and the season is still early, so it is hard to decipher just how good-or bad!-teams like Tennessee and Furman are. The Volunteers lost again in Week 2 but at least managed to push BYU to overtime. Furman, which went a respectable 6-4 in 2018, opened with a 46-13 beatdown of Charleston Southern before falling to Georgia State.
Western Michigan is coming off consecutive blowouts, one in its favor and one most certainly not in its favor. The Broncos blasted Monmouth 48-13 in their opener and then got blown out at Michigan State 51-17. They are 1-1 ATS, as the favorites in both of those contests covered the spread easily.
Saturday night's rematch is the second a home-and-home series between Western Michigan and Georgia State. The Panthers played in their own friendly confines in Atlanta last fall and lost, 34-15. But they look like a whole different beast in 2019. In last year's game against the Broncos, Ellington rushed for only 35 yards on 18 keepers and he did not throw a touchdown pass while getting picked off once. Fast forward almost exactly 12 months, and his confidence is now at a whole different level. Ten points should be enough for Georgia State, which has already played two competitive games, whereas Western Michigan has not been battle tested by any kind of drama through two weeks.
Pick - Georgia State +10 for 4 units
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